Short Stories >> Bhoori >> Rushing about (Bhaj Bhajan)
Written By: Smt.Sundri Uttamchandani
As soon as I woke up, I asked the servant, "What time is it Raju?"
As if a scorpion had stung me. I have never seen a scorpion but I have heard many stories about its sting from my mother) "You fellow! Why didn't you wake me earlier? Now quickly make tea..."
I washed my face and sat to have tea. Mom too came and sat. I was thinking, "After tea I shall get ready quickly and go for tuitions. I am late every day. After tuitions, I'll have breakfast and rush to school. I hope the muster is still there..."
Tea over...no water in the toilet...Oh! "Raju why haven't you got the tank repaired? Could not get a plumber? Here it is difficult to get anything repaired if it breaks down..."
Washing my hands at the wash basin, "I'm dead"
Mom asked from the other room, "What happened to you Urmila?"
How to tell her that it was a Monday and the shops were closed, so I wouldn't get my sari from the laundry! If I tell her she will start her lecture... "You have so many saris, yet you need a sari from the laundry...what has happened to today's girls. We too have lived a life..."
Oh God, mouth shut, ears shut, I go straight to the bathroom. Oh Hell! I did not bring in the hot water...Suddenly Raju appeared and he kept a bucket of hot water under the tap...Oh, it takes so long to mix cold water with the hot water! If I get a couple of more tuitions, I shall install a geyser...As I came out of the bath, I overheard, "Madam, the gas is over". Raju was telling mom.
No Gas means no breakfast. Anyway, on can eat bread-butter. But what about lunch?
Handing me a glass of milk mom said, "I am taking Gulu to school. You go for the tuition and on the way book the gas at the dealer. There is a shortage of kerosene...I will be a bit late. There has been a message from the match-maker..."
"Message has come!"Actually these words can create a flutter in any unmarried girl's heart, but for me such flutters have occurred so many times that I have become immune to them...My dad too died worrying about this.
It is so sad. Getting dressed up as a doll, going to see a groom or getting oneself shown to the groom and inspite of it, returning disappointed. At times I am not selected, or at other I don't like them. Sometimes it is a matter of dowry, and at other times it is some stupid people who regard teaching less valuable.
To hell with such stuff! I was quickly getting ready before the mirror. I thought that other teachers have two maids to get them ready. That new teacher comes so well dressed that I cannot lift my eyes off her. She makes such neat pleats in her sari. I cannot pleat this starched sari at all... To hell with them...It's late.
"Raju, Milk, milk..."
Oh the milk is getting cold on the table since so long.
As I was putting perfume on my handkerchief and moving towards the table, the perfume bottle fell down. One more problem! But thank God the bottle did not break. I had a Cross hanging down my neck. I touched it. I looked here and there. Thankfully mom had taken Gulu to school or else she would have started, "Your convent education has ruined your religion..."
"Thank God" I said, gulped down the milk and rushed out.
But I had to go the gas dealer. "Raju its not nine o'clock already, is it?"
I was in the staircase. My neighbor replied, "It is two minutes left to nine".
As I was winding my watch and going towards the road, I was breathless. If I had lost even one second the traffic would have started.
With a heart beating fast, I reached the gas dealer. My brain was running fast like my feet, and I said, "The house is full with marriage guests. So please send us the gas quickly".
Looking at y new starched sari, the register clerk looked at me with a knowing mischievous smile. I thought to myself, "Stupid fellow. Must be thinking it is my wedding. Next time when I come I shall tell him that it was my niece's wedding. God...Niece is not even born as yet... Then I wiped my perspiration and reached the tuition. The student's exams were nearing. I quickly brushed through all the subjects. I was now hungry. It was ten minutes to ten, I stood up. The child said, "The Geography map is pending".
"Leave it dear. I have to reach school at 10.30. Before that I have to walk home and if there is something cooked, I have to eat that and rush to school..."
It was rather strange today. The child's mother said, "I have cooked Poha today, please eat a little".
I was aware that there was no gas at home so I did not refuse. I had Poha and dry potatoes. But how do I reach? Oh God! I heard the ten o'clock siren on the way. My heart was beating very hard and my feet were running fast. I reached home breathlessly. The gas surely must have not reached. But I was shocked to see that the gas had arrived and even the lunch had been prepared. Oh wow, my bluff on the gas clerk had worked. Raju said, "The delivery man had brought the cylinder especially for us, on his shoulders and he even took a tip".
"Wow. The work was done, Raju pack my lunch box".
Now I hope to reach school in time. It is a walk of three bus stops. So with long strides I walked all the way and on reaching the school I saw the peon carrying away the muster. I grabbed the muster and signed. Now I took a sigh of relief. But now I was laughing at this life of mine which is always on tenterhooks. I was trying to control my laughter but I couldn't. I went straight into the teacher's room. Two teachers were enjoying a free period. One of them said, "I feel Urmila is going to get married soon..."
I asked, "From what did you gather that?"
She said, "From your new sari".
I now had every reason to laugh aloud and I burst out laughing.
Looking at me so happy the other teacher felt the joke to be true and she asked, "You won't quit the job after marriage, will you?"
I laughed even more. Somehow controlling my laughter I went to class but by evening the news had spread in the entire school that Urmila was to get married.Rumours seem to have certain wings. Everybody's gaze was as if asking me about marriage. I thought to myself, "To hell with them. Who has the time in this hectic life to think about these useless things! Let me rush home. I still have to buy things on my way".
Oh God I wonder if I put the wire bag in my purse or not. I had kept it in the fridge along with the fruits...Let me see my purse...
Oh how nice. Perhaps mom has carefully put in my purse while she was cutting fruits.
As I was coming down, taking two steps at a time, I saw the ground wet, "From where has this unseasonal rain come? I shall take the bus to the market. Luckily I got the bus quickly but it was too crowded and chaotic, but wow, a window seat on the upper deck! Who is this? "Oh Honey...How come you are this side?", I asked my friend Anila.
"Meet my Nicky...I mean Nari"
"Nari?" I burst out laughing. What spectacles he is wearing...
Oh God the way he is looking at me...And he has stretched two fingers towards me. How can not enjoy such a colorful personality. But Anila gave a strict look at her brother saying, "This is Urmila who has tolerated you. There is a limit to jokes also".
"Urmila this is my brother. He has come from abroad in search of a bride that too a Sindhi girl..."
At this Nari says. "Urmila is this". and shows his thumb.
Anila was even more irritated. She said, "Do you know what the meaning of showing your thumb here is? One doesn't know what styles they learn abroad".
"Urmi, sorry! I meant to say this, that Urmila is A1 "Nari showed his thumb again...
"Oh Oh I have to get off at this stop my dear".Giving a seat to Nari next to his sister, I got off the bus.
Mummy is very nice. After marketing when I reached home, I went and hugged her. I started laughing and could not stop, like a spring toy. Amidst peals of laughter I shared the rushing about of the whole day with mom and she too kept laughing.
- Translated by Arun Babani